Drawing Board, I am Returning to It

As you might guess, I have to rethink my plans… at least a little bit. I had originally expected to use Scenes of Chance to flesh out the nodes originally created, but once I got into it I found I didn’t care for the results I was getting.

I’m keeping this post up for a couple of reasons. First, it keeps me honest. Not everything works correctly the first time, and I would rather show what didn’t work for me than hide it. Second, I want to show why it didn’t work for me, and what I learned from it.

First Cut, Scenes of Chance Development

I’ve got a map (graph, node diagram) and some idea of what’s at each node, but there’s still a fair bit of work to be done.

Happily, Scenes of Chance provides some tools to help. Each icon has an associated table with twenty suggestions for what the icon actually means in this case.

I’m not required to adhere to the results, obviously, but they’ll do as a first cut. I’ll roll them all out and see what I’ve got, then massage to fit.

I don’t want to smooth things out too much, though. If it all meshes cleanly then it can feel kind of artificial. Having things that have to work despite not being perfect makes this quite a bit more credible.

Node Name Icon Roll Meaning
A Great Gate Castle 17 A banquet table holds a magnificent, rejuvenating feast.
Dungeon 11 Inside a solid cage with no visible seams someone cries.
NPC 2 A mute sharpening his blades smiles and attacks.
Lore 5 The names of a king’s many wives etched on a bloodied boulder.
B Forest/Castle Castle 7 Travelers approach a hallway filled with swinging blades.
Forest 15 Some type of disease infects all plant life.
NPC 7 A Halfling thief, genuinely nice, but still a thief.
Weather 20 A perfect day.
Danger 12 Large eggs pulsing with ravenous young dot the landscape.

… and this is where I screeched to a halt.

Looking at what I’ve developed so far and what the nodes represent (a town, a swamp, etc.) these entries strike me as much too specific. In many cases they are single objects or encounters. Even if I use all four or five in different places of the area (the Great Gate — the castle — has a magnificent, rejuvenating feast, and a seamless, solid cage in which someone cries somewhere else, and a violent mute somewhere else, and…) it seems very disjoint.

I think I am using the wrong tool.

This is not the fault of the tool itself. I’m reasonable certain that given time and effort I could make each of these work, but they would likely represent single encounters or situations. They could be a great tool for improvisation, or just to kick me out of a rut, but for what I’m doing here… no. I like the suggestions from the icons, but I think I’m going to look for another way to flesh them out.

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